Recently, I found a memo my brother received in the course of his working at a local gas station. The memo began:

Attention: All Staff

  1. Smoke breaks must be taken by one person at a time and one person only!!!!!!! Why am I constantly seeing two people or more staff at a time at the sides of the buildings??????????? It does not matter how busy or how slow we may be at the time, this is a store security issue and a customer service issue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, here's the thing, please don't fucking do this.

Don't waste punctuation, as it makes you look dumb. Periods come in groups of one or three (the group of three is called an ellipsis). Same with exclamations points and question marks. Using an exclamation point, "!", insinuates surprise, but don't use "!!!!!" to insinuate a lot of surprise, as it just doesn't. "?" implies confusion or inquiry, but "?????" does not imply lots of confusion.

There are very few cases where combinations are used. Some people find it acceptable to use "?!" to imply a surprised question. Elipses can be used with exclamation marks or question marks to imply a delay. For instance: "...!" or "...?". But that's about it.

So how can we imply lots of surprise, for instance? Use words! That's what they're there for. The sentence "Smoke breaks must be taken by one person at a time and one person only" is already in a surprised and angry tone. It only needs one exclamation point.

Now, off you go, and remember this little lesson. It is very important!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, extra punctuation is a bit like swearing: if you do it too much people will get offended, and 'doing it more adds more emphasis' is only true up to a point, after which you just seem like a bit of a moron.


'No!' is the equivalent of 'No!'
'No!!' is the equivalent of 'No, bugger it, no!'
'No!!!' is, in the rare situations in which it's justified (bearing in mind you're talking to strangers), the equivalent of 'Fuck no!'
'No!!!!' is the equivalent of 'fuckety fuckety shit-wank no, yah cunt!'. In other words, it doesn't make you seem extra-emphatic, it just makes you seem silly.

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